Xbox Live and Playstation Network under attack by Lizard Squad on Christmas Day. Who are they?

Xbox One and PS4 (logos)

On Christmas Day the Playstation Network and Xbox Live were brought down by the hacker group known as Lizard Squad. While Xbox Live has recovered from the attack that left players locked on single-player mode for several hours, Playstation Network had a bad time restarting its servers, as the PS Store kept having issues. Lately, it wasn’t a good time for Sony in terms of security, after the hacker attack supposedly perpetrated by North Korea in response to the film “The Interview”, because of its plot regarding the killing of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The attack was anticipated some time ago, when Lizard Squad on Twitter announced they were going to attack the servers on 25th December. As intimidation, Anonymous might have replied that if there was going to be any, they’d have helped FBI and authorities to track down the attackers. However, a recent tweet from their official page came out stating they have no interest in tracking them down; probably suggesting the above was a fake, which wasn’t even officially reported.

What’s even more surprising is that Kim Dotcom, former MegaUpload boss, probably helped in finishing the craziness. With a tweet he posted an screenshot of a conversation between him and the hackers. As a reward for ending the attacks against PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, Dotcom gave out several vouchers for Mega. You may think about “giving in” to Lizard; eventually it had a desirable outcome.

Who are Lizard Squad and why are they doing it? On the Internet, people would find the word “troll” as the closest synonym. For those who don’t know the meaning, a troll is someone who creates annoyance for the sake of doing it; they like it. On an interview released to WinBeta they said that they didn’t want to create economical damage; if that was the case, they’d have attacked the NASDAQ. Also, they claimed that they did it for fun and to prove to Sony and Microsoft how fragile their servers are. At last, they also said that on Christmas Day more people would have gotten angry, and kids were forced to stay with families instead of playing with their new consoles.

The Lizard Squad started attacking earlier this year, even if their original (now banned) account on Twitter was created back in 2011. In August, they twitted that there was a bomb aboard John Smedly – CEO of Sony division for videogames development – aircraft. As a result, the flight was diverted even if no bomb was ever found.

Lizard Squad then moved their attention to Tor, the well-known service for privately browsing the web; luckily, no severe damage were caused. They said they did this because “only hackers, miscreants and pedophiles use Tor”. Tor indeed didn’t have a bright past as far as it concerns eventual ties with drugs and pedophilia. Still, Tor isn’t illegal in its own right; in simple terms allows you to mask your IP address while browsing, making you impossible to pin on a map. In fact Tor was used by Edward Snowden for transmitting classified NSA files. That’s where Anonymous intervened:

The question automatically comes up by itself: is there an unbreakable Internet? Probably no, there’s nothing that’s bulletproof out there, just very strong.

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